Is Masonry a Religion?

Masonry is a fraternity, not a religion. Masonry acknowledges the existence of God, but Masonry does not tell a person which religion he should practice or how he should practice it. That is a function of his house of worship, not his fraternity.

Why is Masonry so secretive?

It really isn’t secretive, although it sometimes has that reputation. Masons certainly do not make a secret of the fact that we belong to the fraternity. We wear rings, lapel pins, and tie clasps with Masonic emblems like the “Square and Compass.” Masonic buildings (referred to as Lodges) are clearly marked, and are usually listed in the phone book. Lodge activities are not secret as events are usually listed in the newspapers. Masonry is a not a secret society, it is a society that has secrets.

Why does Masonry use symbols?

Symbols allow people to communicate quickly. When you see a red light, you know what it means. When you see a circle with a line through it, you know it means “No.” In fact, using symbols is probably the oldest method of communication and teaching. Masons use symbols for the same reasons. Certain symbols stand for certain ethics and principles of the organization. “The Square and Compass” is the most widely known symbol of Masonry.

What are the requirements to become a Mason?

In the state of Florida, anyone meeting the following primary requirements may petition a lodge for membership:

  • You are an adult male (18 years or older) of good character and recommended by a Mason.
  • You believe in a Supreme Being – no atheist or agnostic can become a Mason – but we are not concerned with theological distinctions or your particular religious beliefs.
  • You are interested in becoming a Mason because you hold a favorable opinion of our institution; and,
  • Your decision to apply is based on your own “free will and accord” – no one compelled you to join.

 

How do I become a Freemason?

Ask!

Because Masons have not traditionally recruited members, and do not hold public meetings, there has long been confusion about how to join the Fraternity. Does someone ask you? Do you ask? If you meet the requirements above, it is really quite simple; Most men become Masons simply by asking – like Washington, Franklin, and most every Mason from the past to the present day. Each lodge manages the membership process for its candidate. In general, men seek out a Lodge near their home or work, or they ask a Mason to recommend a Lodge to them. Once you  have found a Lodge that you would like to join, let them know of your interest and they will provide you with a petition. if you are unanimously elected by the members of a Lodge, joining the Fraternity involves going through three “degrees” – Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason.

What are the time and / or financial commitments of being a Mason?

Becoming a Mason takes several months from the time you complete your petition until you have finished your degrees. Until you begin your degrees though, very little is asked of you. Once the degree work begins you will need go attend your Lodge’s monthly meeting. There is also one additional meeting per month called the “Lodge of Instruction,” where you will receive further explanation about the degree you just experienced. There is also some side work that you will need to complete that amounts to a little bit of homework. Every member of the Fraternity has gone through this process and your Lodge will assign a Brother to help you. Once you have completed your three degrees, it is expected that members attend their Lodge’s “Stated Communication,” or monthly meeting. Some times there will be a special meeting on a second night in the month. Beyond that, there are other activities going on: community service, family and social outings, etc. that take place throughout the year. We hope that members will participate in the events that their time and interest allow. Like many things, you get out of Freemasonry what you choose to put into it; although it is also recognized and understood the need for a balance between your family, work or school, and other interests and commitments. There is a one-time initiation fee set by each lodge. There are annual dues, which also differ from lodge to lodge.

Where did Masonry come from?

Part of the mystique of Masonry can be attributed to the speculation about its roots. Over the years, historians have never been able to conclusively determine when, where, how, and why Freemasonry was born. The order is thought to have arisen from English and Scottish guilds of practicing stonemasons and cathedral builders in the Middle Ages. Certain Mason documents actually trace the sciences of geometry and masonry to the time of ancient Egypt, and some historians say that Masonry has its real roots in antiquity. The formation of the fist Grand Lodge in London in 1717 marks he beginning of the Modern (or Speculative) era of Freemasonry, when member were no longer limited to actual working stonemasons. These “Accepted Masons” adopted more enlightened philosophies, and turned into a fraternity for moral edification, intellectual recitation, benevolent service, and gentlemanly socialization.

Why is there so much interest on Masonry today?

Over the last four centuries, Freemasonry seems to have flourished during times of great enlightenment and change. It is no coincidence that Freemasonry rose to prominence during the Age of Enlightenment in both Europe and America – when a new generation believed it could discover ways to gain personal improvement, bring order to society, and understand the whole universe. This statement is perhaps even stronger today than it was in the 18th century. Today, men seek out Masonry for the same reason – to better themselves and improve society in the company of like-minded Brothers. As we learn more about how our physical world works, there is also new interest in those things we do not understand  – especially things bound around tradition or that have a more mystical nature. Though books and movies are a product more of a vivid imagination than fact , the real history of Masonry is perhaps the best story of all  – one learned only by Asking – and becoming a Freemason.

What are the benefits of becoming a Mason?

There are numerous benefits to being a Mason, but they tend to be personal and they are also quite varied. And they can only be truly discovered by becoming a member. But to try and give you an idea: without question the opportunity to experience camaraderie and fellowship with a group of men across the boundaries of age, race, religion, culture, and opinion is fundamental to the Fraternity, many find great value and knowledge in our ritual ceremony that uses symbolism and metaphor to encourage and remind us to appreciate principles, ethics and morality, and to live our lives accordingly; others find great satisfaction in our charitable efforts, community service, and the support we provide our members and their families; finally, for those who take on leadership positions within their lodge, they develop or further very practical managements skills.

Can Freemasonry actually prepare me for greatness?

No organization can guarantee to make anyone great – the capacity and motivation must come from the individual – but the powerful values and important truths that are taught as part of the Masonic tradition have proven to inspire, challenge, and develop leadership in men. Benjamin Franklin may have said best, describing the Fraternity as a place to prepare himself. Today, men are preparing themselves for greatness in Lodges the world over . If you think there is greatness in you, we invite your interest.

Is Masonry a charity?

No. Masonic principles teach the value of relief – or charity – and Freemasonry gives more than $2 million a DAY, of which more than 70% of these donations support the general public. Among their works are the Shriners Hospital for Children with 22 sites throughout North America, including a burn center in Boston and an orthopedic facility in Springfield, almost 225 Learning Centers helping children with dyslexia and speech and hearing disorders; the Masonic Youth Child Identification Program (MYCIP), and the Masonic Angel Foundation, providing modest assistance to children and adults in local communities who do not fit the criteria for usual social services. There are numerous other worthy causes and groups that local Lodges contribute to and help in their communities.

To Summarize, Freemasonry …

Is a voluntary association of men. Is a system of moral conduct. Is a way of life. Is a fraternal society. Teaches monotheism. Is religious in its character. Teaches the Golden Rule. Seeks to make good men better. Teaches morality through symbolism. Uses ritual and ceremonies to instruct its members. Is based on a firm belief in the Fatherhood of G-d, the Brotherhood of Man and the immorality of the Soul. The tenets of Freemasonry are ethical principles such as are acceptable to all good men. Teaches tolerance towards the belief of others and charity towards all mankind. Proudly proclaims that it consists of men bound together by Brotherly Love and Affection. Is universally applicable throughout the world. Is not an insurance or beneficial-type society. Is neither a religion nor a creed. Is not organized for profit. Dictates to no man as to his belief, either religious or secular. Seeks no advantage for its members through business or politics. Is not a forum for discussion on partisan affairs. Does not conceal its existence. It is not a secret society.

Freemasonry teaches …

Love and kindness in the home. Honesty and fairness in business or occupation. Courtesy in social contacts. Help for the weak and unfortunate amid resistance to wickedness. Trust and confidence in good men. Forgiveness toward the penitent. Love toward one another and, above all, reverence for the Supreme Being.

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